Although many companies still have HR departments, business owners and managers are waking up to the fact that people aren't consumable or disposable resources.
Smart companies are finding ways to help their people create a better work-life fit through flexible work arrangements. Company directors aren't doing this out of the goodness of their pinstriped hearts. Study after study has shown that happy employees are more engaged and more productive, and that translates into more satisfied customers and a healthier bottom line.
Workplace flexibility - changing how, when, and where work is done - is one way to help make people happier. But it has long been considered a perk, and only for the upper echelons. What about hourly workers? Their needs are no different than those of senior managers. Wouldn't flexibility for them create the same beneficial outcomes?
A recent study looked at the flexibility options offered by companies such as Marriott International, Inc., Proctor and Gamble, Bright Horizons and PNC Financial. The research showed that flexibility for low-wage, hourly and non-exempt people is effective in a variety of business environments - from hospitality to financial services, and from child care to consumer products.
Two Reasons Flexibility is Good for Business
1. Flexibility is an effective way to recruit and retain talent.
There is a shortage of qualified early childhood teachers. But flexible work options, used as a talent management strategy, allowed Bright Horizons Family Solutions to recruit and retain people who are committed to what they do. And by offering a broad choice of work schedules, they're able to tap into a wider labor pool.
Flexible schedules and innovative time-off policies allowed PNC Financial to become an employer of choice in a competitive labor market among millennial workers.
Customer service and sales jobs typically suffer high turnover. But Marriott found flexibility was an effective way to hold on to their high-performing employees. Flexibility helped the company respond to the realities of the their employee's lives - raising a family, going back to school, recovering from illness, or having to provide family care.
Businesses, such as Proctor and Gamble, need to operate 24/7. The part-time positions, flextime, and compressed work schedules they offer allow them to successfully match their operational needs with the needs of their people.
2. Flexibility helps control costs and boost productivity.
I listened recently to the owner of Zazie, a San Francisco restaurant, talk about how she lets her staff schedule themselves - heresy in the hospitality world. She also said she offers a full suite of benefits for her part-time staff, an equally radical practice. But while that puts her labor costs at 48 percent of revenue, her bottom line was higher than her peers'. What's more, she said she hadn't hired new kitchen staff in more than seven years.
For other businesses, flexibility allows them to control personnel costs, especially overtime costs - a win-win for company and workers.
But best of all, many companies have documented productivity gains, especially by offering telework as a flexibility strategy. Best Buy, British Telecom, and Dow Chemical have documented that their teleworkers are 35 to 40 percent more productive. JDEdwards teleworkers are 20 to 25 percent more productive than their office counterparts. American Express teleworkers produced 43 percent more than their office-based counterparts. Compaq increased productivity 15 to 45 percent when they initiated a telework program.
How to Implement a Flexible Work Strategy for Hourly Employees
1. Use a team-based approach.
You have to establish clear guidelines and performance expectations, but then you can build flexibility into staffing models and cross-train team members, so they can help each other. Almost everyone responds to the opportunity for self-determination, and most respond to shared responsibility. External source: To continue reading 'Click Here'.